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Monkeywhale On A Reel

Nov 16th, 2011 | By | Category: News, Sights

Greensboro houses many talented artists.  There are countless original bands, photographers, visual artists, and film makers.  One of these film makers, Harvey K. Robinson, has a message to go along with his films: Save the Monkeywhale.

I first met Harvey when he was a bartender at the Flatiron, a local downtown dive.  I was drinking.  I had been hosting the Open Mic there for a couple of years it seems.  Those years muddle together now.  Harvey and I hit it off quickly, and laughed a lot.  He would tell me about his plans to save for a camera, so he could make his own movies.  Then one day he had enough, quit the bar, and started making movies.

Harvey directed two or three 48 Hour Film Project films before traveling  to Japan, but once he made that trip he was changed forever.  During an exquisite dinner of super-fresh sushi and saki, someone passed Harvey a piece of raw fish he hadn’t tried.  He ate it, and promptly asked the sushi giver, “what kind of fish was that?”

“Whale.”

Harvey swallowed hard.  “Whale?”

“Yes.  Monkeywhale.”

Devoting time to spreading awareness of the endangered Monkeywhale became his goal.  Working with environmentalists and other activists, he started locally.  Addressing his concerns about the helpless whale, a speaker was brought before the city council.  In some error of technology, one of the city council members (ahem), somehow located an adult “entertainment” site at the URL the speaker gave.  Harvey’s URL.  Monkeywhale.com.  It was most certainly not a dirty site at all, but a collection of writings, photographs, and videos from Team Monkeywhale.

The testimony of that speaker, the speaker on behalf of the endangered monkeywhales- like the piece that once rested in Harvey’s belly- was stricken from the record.  Stricken from the record.  Testimony.

Then the music videos Robinson was doing in his kitchen, with a small crew of Carolyn deBerry, caught on.  The series is called Harvey’s Kitchen and it was done entirely in their kitchen, usually shot in front of a white screen.  Local and national acts still stop by the house and work on a video with Monkeywhale.

Has the monkeywhale been entirely saved?  Not really, but my mother sends me a postcard every time she sees one breaching off the Cape.  I’ve gotten a lot of postcards.

Using his friends as his crew and talent in all his productions and connecting with the community in this city, state, and country has been a good thing for many.  The desire and determination that he has shown over the years is apparent in his very recently released reel.  I invite you to watch Harvey Robinson’s reel, below, and always ask what kind of fish you’re eating.  Throw up three fingers like an M or a W the next time you see someone wearing a shirt, or driving a car with a sticker on it, that says Save the Monkeywhale.  Work that bar until you get your camera, and find your own monkeywhale to save.

Harvey K Robinson: Director/Cinematographer Reel 2011 

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